Anti-goverment protesters in Syria claim at least eight civilians have been killed by security forces during renewed unrest in towns in the north west of the country.
There has been intensified military activity reported against civilians in Hama and Idlib, where the lastest killings were claimed to have taken place.
The state news agency said six soldiers and three civilian support staff were also killed in an ambush in Hama.
The popular uprising against the rule of President Assad has maintained its momentum for nearly six months despite continuing reports of brutal attempts to crush it.
The head of the Arab League Nabil Elarby said he will probably visit the country this week to voice Arab concerns about the violence and to listen to the Syrian authorities.